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How to be Water Smart

Safe on the Water

Life jackets and life preservers are mandatory in most states. They can be a lifeline for a person who is injured or having trouble staying afloat. In 2006, 90% of recreational boating fatalities were not wearing life jackets. Life jackets and other personal flotation devices (PFDs) should always be present and used correctly when in or around the water.

Life jackets should fit snugly. Newer models are less bulky and more comfortable than ever before. It is important to find life jackets that are approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. They have weight limits that should be heeded, especially for children. A PFD too big or too small will fail to offer the level of protection needed.
In regard to styles and innovations, newer life jackets aren't the bright orange models of years past. Today they come in a range of colors and styles — some especially designed for specific water sports or recreational uses. There are even life jackets that inflate when a person hits the water, reducing bulk, and increasing mobility.

"In 2006, 90% of recreational boating fatalities were not wearing life jackets."
Many boaters simply store life jackets on their boat and assume doing so is protection enough. Boating accidents can happen in a matter of a few minutes. There may not be enough time to grab a life jacket and buckle it up in a dangerous situation. Failing to wear it at all times puts your life and the lives of other people on a boat at risk.

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